Teal background with NDC logo on left and Text: Your Questions, Answered. NationalDeafCenter.org/FAQs

Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.

FAQs About Remote Services

Each video conferencing platform is unique. Some schools may use a stand-alone video conferencing platform while some are integrated into the Learning Management System (LMS):

  • Connect with your IT department and learn more about your platform’s features for remote interpreting and real-time captions. Research your platform’s knowledge base or support website.

  • Work with the instructor to ensure providers have the appropriate permissions within the platform, and know how to support pinning, spotlighting, streaming captions, sharing screens, and other features to help maintain access to service providers. If time permits, conduct a practice run with the instructor, provider, and student to determine what works best.

  • If real-time captions cannot be synced in the platform, explore alternative options for viewing. If access to the interpreter’s video is not ideal, consider a multi-platform approach. For example, the student and interpreter can still be logged into the class platform and use a separate video platform for direct communication access.

  • Ensure that students are aware of how videos appear on their screen (gallery, side-by-side, etc.), to configure their view of the interpreter and others. Students may need more than one device (e.g. a laptop and tablet) to access an online course and accommodation services simultaneously.

Watch in ASL

Before classes begin:

  • Make sure service providers have access to the Learning Management System (LMS, such as Canvas or Blackboard), or are able to receive emails from the instructor.

  • Do a practice run using the platforms and find out what works best (for example, experiment with viewing the interpreter in a split screen or through dual monitors or practice pinning the interpreter). Make sure you, your service providers and the disability services office have a back-up plan in case technology fails.

During class:

  • Communicate with your service providers. Let them know if something is not working, if your video/captioning stream is choppy, or it is hard to see the interpreter.

  • If using interpreters, work out a strategy for them to let you know when they will switch, allowing you time to locate the team interpreter’s video.

Troubleshooting tips

  • Communicate with your service providers while online. Consider using a live chat or messaging platform to stay in touch during the class.

  • Learn how to troubleshoot with the platforms or systems being used to connect with your service provider(s). Discuss your preferences, such as lightning and background color before classes begin.

If your school is planning a virtual graduation ceremony, be sure to plan for communication access for all deaf participants (graduates, alumni, families and other viewers). Access considerations for deaf participants should include:

It is also important for schools to advertise in advance that the ceremony will be broadcasted with interpreting and/or real-time captions. Advertise contact information where additional requests can be made.

As schools move orientations and campus tours online, several considerations should be made to ensure deaf students have an equitable experience and opportunities in all related sessions and activities. Incorporating these strategies in the planning stages will save time, money, and promote inclusion for all students!

  • Plan ahead. NDC’s Deaf Student Orientation Guide offers guidance and tips with planning access for a variety of settings. Identify who will be involved in implementing orientation and campus tour.

  • Post instructions for students to request accommodations. Provide a direct link to your school’s Accommodations Request Form or designate a point-of-contact person to receive all requests for accommodations. Discuss the format of each session with the student to identify which accommodations will work best. Working with a deaf student for the first time? NDC’s Interactive Process Tools can help!

  • Work out the logistics. Find out which LMS and/or video platforms will be used. Work with staff to obtain access and links for all sessions/activities and follow-up when accommodations have been arranged. Share these tools with all staff involved with providing orientation and campus tour activities (e.g., Campus Tour Guides, Orientation Leaders, Academic Advisors, Speakers).

  • Coordinate accommodations requested for all live sessions. It is important to be flexible, there is a chance the student may request interpreters for some sessions, speech-to-text services for others, or dual accommodations. Be sure to provide session links with access to assigned service providers!

  • Make sure to caption ALL pre-recorded videos. Only time-synced, verbatim captions provide full and equitable access to video content. Replacing captions with other accommodations, such as interpreting, real-time captioning, or a transcript, will not provide complete access.

Staff, hourly and contracted service providers (interpreting and speech-to-text) should continue to provide services remotely. This ensures consistency with services for the student. Work with service providers to ensure they have:

  • Access to high-speed internet.

  • A private space to work from (e.g., some schools are allowing service providers to use offices on campus as long as they observe self-quarantine protocols).

  • Appropriate equipment, such as headphones with a microphone and a computer with webcam and any necessary software.

  • Access to LMS or live video platforms.

  • The student and instructor’s contact information in case of technical troubleshooting.

Staff and hourly providers can also assist with:

  • Captioning media for online courses (or prepare a transcript).

  • Provide interpreting for pre-recorded lectures.

  • Be available remotely for online tutoring, meetings or online school activities unrelated to the classroom.

Additional information:

For group tutoring sessions, check with the deaf student to see what accommodations would be most effective in this type of setting. If they request speech-to-text or interpreting services, coordinate these services the same way you would for any online appointment.

  • Remind students they should continue to follow the same procedures to request accommodations.

  • Discuss what options are available for the student, tutor and service provider to get connected on the platform being used.

  • Have a back-up plan or a second option to connect virtually (e.g., logging onto a different platform).

  • For one-on-one tutoring situations, consider using interactive approaches (e.g., Google Docs) to support visual support with chat features in one screen to discuss back and forth.

For more information:
Remote Access Services
Tutoring Deaf Students